Did you know that ordinary nail polish contains animal ingredients? In addition, most products contain chemicals that are not really healthy. Vegan alternatives, on the other hand, largely avoid potentially harmful substances, but there are also serious differences here.

Conventional nail polish often contains questionable ingredients such as solvents (formaldehyde), synthetic resins (polymers), preservatives (parabens), plasticizers (phthalates), microplastics and trieric components (keratin, carmine, guanine). They ensure better coverage and longer durability. Vegan nail polish, on the other hand, completely dispenses with the use of animal ingredients, but certain chemicals are also found in these products. For this reason, the “free” concept was created, which states how many questionable substances were not used.

The “free” concept for vegan cosmetics

Even if vegan nail polish does not contain any animal ingredients, it can contain conventional ingredients. To identify these, many brands use a combination of the word “free” and a number – this is intended to provide information about how many questionable substances, which are most common in ordinary nail polish, were not used. You can find out what these are in detail by looking at the label, as there is no uniform regulation for all manufacturers. As a rule, however, the reference stands for the omission of the following ingredients:

Vegan nail polish: An overview of popular brands

This brand makes their nail polish without any animal-based ingredients — and it’s also cruelty-free. Instead of relying on classic chemistry, OZN prefers to use biodegradable alternatives. And since quality is known to have its price, vegan nail polish is not exactly cheap.

The label was founded in Australia in 2012: Kester Black also produces cruelty-free and (due to recyclable materials) environmentally friendly nail polish, which is also vegan. The range includes a wide range of colors so that there is something for every taste.

According to the manufacturer, the vegan nail polish is heavily pigmented, super shiny and dries quickly. The integrated UV filter protects Nailberry’s vegan colors from fading. And of course no animal testing was done here either – recognizable by the note “Cruelty Free”.

The German brand Kia-Charlotta also uses vegan nail polish that is free of harmful substances and animal testing. In order to keep production as sustainable as possible, only 15 new colors are developed each season – the products are also limited and made from sustainable materials.

In contrast to the other brands, Gitti’s nail polishes are water-based and filled in sustainable packaging. The Berlin label became known, among other things, through an appearance by the founder Jennifer Baum-Minkus in the TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen”.

Understanding the ingredients: That’s what’s behind it

As already mentioned at the beginning, a look at the ingredients can provide information about whether a nail polish is really vegan and not tested on animals. Key ingredients that shouldn’t appear on the label are terms like carmine and guanine. The former is a red pigment obtained from scale insects – usually noted on nail polish as cochineal or “CI 75470”. The second comes from fish scales and is a shimmer pigment. The vegan equivalent is called Mica or “CI 77019”. Furthermore, keratin should not be listed because it comes from animal hair, horns and hooves. And last but not least, the note “Cruelty Free” or “Leaping Bunny” is important because it stands for animal-free cosmetics, because vegan nail polish can also be tested on animals.

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